Scientist Claims Bitcoin Boom Could Be Disastrous For Environment

It's hard to avoid the fact that our planet is in big trouble.

Even David Attenborough says that we are screwed; the oceans are full of plastic, the polar ice caps are melting - but only if they get a chance to before the nuclear war starts.

Well, it's time to add an even stranger enemy to the global fight for survival: Bitcoin.

Yes, the digital currency that is now worth nearly £12,000 each at the last check is going to bring about the very real apocalypse according to one meteorologist.

You see, Bitcoin has to be 'mined' - which is a ridiculously complicated process that is both difficult and boring to explain.

This process uses a load of electricity which is usually provided by power stations that rely on fossil fuels to create their power.

Seriously though - this uses SO much power that if Bitcoin keeps growing as it has done this year then very soon it will be using more power than is currently being produced.

Credit: PA

Eric Holthaus writes in Grist: "Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the US for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers.

"But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become.

"Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

"What's more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it's getting worse.

"In just a few months from now, at bitcoin's current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what's available, requiring new energy-generating plants.

"And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies.

"By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses.

"By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today. This is an unsustainable trajectory. It simply can't continue."

Credit: PA

So, within three years we could be throwing away as much fossil fuel energy on Bitcoin as we are using now on everything - which is already loads.

It's showing no sign of slowing down either. In fact, the global cryptocurrency market is now reportedly worth more than the economies of New Zealand and Greece.

That's it then. We had a good run though, right?

Featured Image Credit: PA

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013